Clothed in Humility

In 2007 a ministry appointment in a London Church taught me a lesson that remains valuable and changed my perspective on what the Apostle Paul means when he says, “I am poured out for the sake of the Kingdom” (2 Tim 4:6). God indeed requires us to practice a lifestyle or meekness.

Meet Pastor Bamidele

Bamidele is a Nigerian name in the Yoruba language. It means, “Follow me Home” or “Come Home with Me”.  I hope that this story will ignite a passion that will take up Bamidele on his offer. He was the Senior Pastor of a relatively large Nigerian church on the outskirts of London. A church that hosted us for tea after the morning service. This was not an unusual occurrence for international guests. As an itinerant missions team, we always enjoyed the spirit of hospitality that showered us. We were “waited-on” hand and foot. Around the table we enjoyed good conversation with Pastor Bamidele and his family. Eventually it was time for us to be taken to our hotel. The Pastor and two of his elders shuttled us. When we arrived Pastor Bamidele, in the true spirit of chivalry, opened the car door for me and carried my bags. 

 “How delightful! What an incredible leader.” You have to understand that while I experienced chivalry at many levels it was not the norm for senior church leaders to do the tasks normally assigned to deacons or elders. Bamidele wasn’t dressed in Gucci’s or Armani’s (as is the habit amongst many) yet was an interesting and deep conversationalist – kind and generous in gesture. The sort of person that piques one’s curiosity. A quiet unassuming man with an air of mastery.

The Face of Meekness

Standing at the front desk I heard the receptionist say, “Welcome and thank you Doctor.” I turned to him in amazement, “You never said a word. Why is it that nobody at your church calls you Doctor? You carried my bags and waited on us without any airs and graces. You are different. The modern church is so focused on titles that it’s truly become more about designation than meaningful engagement that upholds dignity. This is such a refreshing introduction to servanthood. Or perhaps it is a fresh perspective on godly leadership.”

He watched my animated gestures with a shy smile, 

“The title wasn’t important enough to mention”. A rare response.     

“So then, what kind of doctor are you?”

“I’m a Physicist.”

“Wow, I think you’re the first Physicist I’ve met.”

We laughed. A connecting moment. Not the man with a professional title, not the man who led churches but a friend. It wasn’t in what he said but how graciously and sincerely he said it;
it wasn’t in his demeanour – though he carried himself with confident modesty. He was one of the team. I found it amusing that I heard no congregant refer to or address him as doctor. 

Pastor Bamidele seemed to simply “BE”. He wore “Presence” with elegant eloquence. He seemed like a man whose only passion was to ensure that the sheep in his care were taken care of. He explained it to me very clearly when I raised a few questions. 

“I am a Shepherd called for the sheep, and while my academic achievements are a gift it has no bearing on my Pastoral calling. An earned credit. I did not earn my calling – it is a gift not asked for neither deserved. God deemed it so and I opened my heart and said, “Yes Lord, I will be your servant to the people”.                                                                                                                 

The Heart of Humility

Oh, the prize of servanthood. Pastor Bamidele reflected godly assurance in his straight back and sure gait. In the lowered head when he picked up my bags. In a knowing that God sees and that his approval was more glorious than any pat on the back.
Humility shines through best in an unassuming character. It shows up when we are called to deny ourselves. Dying to the desire to announce who we are and how educated or gifted we are. How entitled we are. This is why Jesus was able to sit with those others called “unimportant”, lowly”, “depraved”. He sees what we do not. He sees people through His Father’s eyes.

Humility is not in carrying yourself as if you have no value, bent and “a doormat”, but in our attitude towards serving others. Humility is bowing low to wash the feet of those the world would place as “low class”. The poor, the uneducated, the less fortunate. 

Jesus tells us the reward for humility in Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Titles are meaningless if we cannot be servants. The pursuance of earthly achievement without the spirit of servanthood is a futile climb. It profits nothing. It has no eternal reward. 

“What shall it profit a man if he was to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” (Mark 8:34-38) We can never stop being servants, meaning to serve and to be servant-minded. Herein lies the willingness to pick up the “tray” and serve. Clothing our hearts and understanding in humility is born through practice – and practice brings awareness – awareness holds us accountable.

How to Practice Pastor Bamidele’s Humility:

  1.  Lower your head so that another may be lifted up.
  2. Esteem your brothers and sisters higher than yourself.
  3. Be transparent and stand exposed before God.
  4. Paul was an Apostle who prayed and praised in prison alongside Timothy as a brother.           
  5. Pick up bags and host graciously.
  6. Mop floors without thought – be a part of the team.
  7. Bathe the sick; adopt the lowly spirit Jesus showed when He washed His disciple’s feet.           
  8. Carry food to the hungry
  9. Be a servant behind the pulpits; behind the podium – practice your gift to uplift and serve.
  10. Remain bowed before the throne of God.
  11. Deny the desire for accolades lest you draw glory to yourself that belongs to God alone.
  12. Embrace a lifestyle of brotherhood and sisterhood.
  13. Pursue to profit others rather than be exalted a Prophet.
  14. Pursue the greatest of all gifts: to be poured out for the sake of the kingdom. 

Humility is like throwing a purple cape over our shoulders. We take upon ourselves the most regal nature of our Father.

It is simply in BEING what you are called to be: God’s heart and hands.

We are undoubtedly called to serve. It is a gift of grace that impacts all we do. 

When we serve, we introduce the very nature of Christ, the Giver of eternal life. 

This is leadership. 



This is the very essence of godly humility.

May you follow Pastor Bamidele, 


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